Wednesday, December 28, 2016

CNN & Civil Rights: Atlanta Impacts the World (Day 2)

Continuing on the theme of what Atlanta brings to the world, we visited CNN center and the (relatively) new National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
At CNN, we were simultaneously blown away by the technological power of how you put on a modern newscast while having to come to terms with the immense power that the 4,000 employees of the company have to basically shape public opinion of over 1 billion people worldwide.

That's some disproportionate strength.

But then, as I looked out over the 200 people working in the newsroom doing the "research" and "fact-checking," I became keenly aware of the vulnerability of this system.

You see, those people are looking at the same web, same Twitter, same Facebook that we all have...and they are subject to the same biases.
So, it's like the movie "Enemy of the State," where you have to ask, "who is watching the watchers?"

The tour was certainly more informative and more fulfilling than the Coca Cola one yesterday and I'm glad we made it.

CNN was maniacal about not allowing pictures or videos at any point within the tour, so nothing to show here. 

After CNN, we took a ride up the big SkyView Atlanta ferris wheel (which seems to be a standard thing in cities worldwide now), but it did afford a great view of the city and enable the kids to get a pretty good bearing on how things are laid out.

Not only did we get to see Centennial Park from above, but we got to see a really cool parking lot implementation of solar panels that doubled as a shade for the cars below. Very neat.

Afterwards, we headed over to the Civil Rights Museum and, even more exciting, a chance to see one of my oldest friends (from 7th grade), Tjada D'Oyen, her husband, Joe, and their 2 boys, whom I hadn't seen in 12 years.

Together, we toured the Museum. On the one hand, it was somewhat redundant with the MLK historic site we had visited on Monday.  On the other hand, it was far more interactive for the kids in terms of the exhibits.

BY FAR...the most powerful part of the entire museum was a lunch counter where you are asked to sit, put on some headphones, close your eyes and then for 100 seconds (or as long as you can stand it).  While there, you are subjected to a non-stop harangue of verbal abuse designed to simulate the experience of doing a lunch counter sit-in.

It is intense and makes the entire price of admission worth it.
The one observation that the kids made about the museum-which was very fair-was that as a museum that focuses entirely on civil rights, it would have been nice to have more than one story represented aside from African-Americans.  
The battle for civil rights impacts many groups...Native Americans, gays, Jews, Muslims, etc.  It would have been nice to have some of them represented as well.

After a visit to the park and getting wet in the the fountains on the Olympic rings, we headed out to our last activity of the cream with a friend of more than 20 years-- Jen Pearlman.

For me, travel is always about the people you meet, the perspectives they have, and the stories they share. That's why seeing Jen and Tjada made Day 2 so special.

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